Feeling romantic?

Nope, me neither but unfortunately, that doesn’t stop other people.

First up is an Irish guy living in Texas, who in a slightly hare-brained move, has decided to marry a Russian Latvian woman. They’ll be tying the knot in Riga just before Christmas. He emailed me out of the blue (having read the blog) to ask me if I knew anything about weddings in Latvia and how they differ from weddings in Ireland. Seemingly he thought my post about crazy Latvian women was all very amusing but didn’t seem overly concerned for himself.

Fighting my initial urge to tell him to run away very fast, I said that I’d never been to a Latvian wedding so I didn’t really know too much about them. Irish weddings, I have been to though. For those of you who don’t know, Irish weddings go something like this.

1. Have a drink (or several).

2. Go to the church and have a little cry at the beautiful ceremony.

3. Have more drinks while the bride and groom are off having their photo taken.

4. Go to the reception venue and have a few more drinks. Say a prayer that the food is served before the speeches.

5. Listen to speeches by people you’ve never met before trying to be funny.

6. Have more drinks to toast the happy couple.

7. Finally, eat. Have some more drinks.

8. Partake in (or watch and snigger at) the dancing of all the ‘I’ve still got some moves’ old people who look as if they’re on the verge of breaking a hip or two.

9. Have more drinks.

10. Pass out in a corner. Sleep. Wake up the next day and have a few drinks. For medicinal reasons, of course.

But as for Latvian weddings, I really don’t know. And are Russian Latvian weddings different to Latvian Latvian weddings? Maybe some of my dear readers can help me (and him) out here.

And they lived happily ever after...

And they lived happily ever after…

A couple of things I have heard though – mainly from students in totally off-topic conversations. The first is that the bride and groom’s families both take off all their clothes, tie them together and whichever side has the longest clothes chain, wins. I imagine that this is a lot more fun visually for the men than it is for the women.

The second thing I’ve heard is that you have to carry your new wife over 7 or 15 bridges. I can’t remember which. And both of these things may not be true – the Irish guy might want to start working out a bit though, just in case.

Anyway, I did what I could. I sent him the names and numbers of some singers that could provide the entertainment, in both Russian and English, for the reception. Now I just have to wait for my invitation…

Our second hopeless romantic, comes in the form of Steve, who has clearly mistaken me for Cilla Black.

Cilla Black

Cilla Black



An easy mistake to make. I’m sure most of you have done it at one time or another.

But let’s get back to Steve. He emailed me to say that he knows a Latvian who loves my blog (I knew there had to be one) and he wants to congratulate her on getting her Masters in a way that she would like. Unfortunately, our absent-minded Romeo has lost her contact details, which is where I come in.

So, without further ado:

“Steve is very proud the intellectual beauty Laura got her MSc”.

Laura, if you’re reading this and haven’t died of embarrassment, drop me a line and I can try and hook you two star-crossed kids up.

Right, I hope you’re feeling all warm and fuzzy after that. I need a stiff drink. Or maybe a ‘lorra lorra’ stiff drinks…

About BerLinda

Adjusting to life in Germany, after living in Latvia for four years. Should be easy, right?
This entry was posted in Humor, Humour, Latvian women, Love and Relationships and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

53 Responses to Feeling romantic?

  1. archecotech says:

    I must admit I had a great laugh reading the post. But even more so at some of the comments. I’ve been married before so I thought I knew a little about getting married,”right”. “Wrong”, very wrong getting married in Russia was fun, crazy, and just down right the best. Instead of getting married once (normal in the state) we get married twice. Once at Zags which I’m sure many Russians can relate to, I had no clue. If I didn’t have an interpreter beside me everyone would have thought I was Barney Fife in a very confused state. Even the Gal that performed the ceremony, had a huge smile on her face knowing I was quite lost. But all was good, the state was happy and so where we. Once we were done they whisked us away to the church, this is where the party started, wow I had no idea it could be that fun. It reminded of the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding. We laughed, we cried, we laughed some more, we eat, people got up and toasted, we had the MC who had everyone in stitches, and yes they all yelled Gorko, like the one gal said in an earlier comment. Can’t remember kissing being so much fun in public.But the best part of all, there was no drinking. “Surprised”, don’t be it was a Christian wedding.

  2. Zane says:

    Let me help a bit with the Latvian wedding part. πŸ™‚
    More or less the beginning of the wedding doesn’t differ much form Russian ones. There is a lot of traditions involved, though lot of couples choose to go the American way, which in my opinion is quite boring.
    In the beginning – the bride prepares for the big day at her house and the groom arrives to redeem her but of course it’s not that easy as it sounds. The couple when they start planning their wedding choose a man and a woman which are their “right hands” as Latvians don’t have bridesmaids and best mans with 10 or more people. This couple is like a combination of Maid of Honor and Best man, usually friends which is couple themselves (it is said that it’s even better that it’s an older couple which are married for quite long themselves as they become almost like Godparents to the marriage). And this couple usually prepares all the traditions, songs, etc.
    So, the bride has to be lured out of her house and groom has to take part in different contests and do different tasks to win the rights of taking the bride with him. This tradition comes from history when you had to pay ransom in cows, gold, leather and fur to brides parents. Nowadays it’s just serenading under the window, answering tricky questions or guessing which of the keys is the right one to her bedroom.
    Of course – then church or city hall, champagne after that, photo shoot outside the church/hall and then the journey begins. Yes, there is a tradition of 7 bridges but it’s usually shortened down to 3 or 5 as it’s not that easy to find those 7 on your way to the reception place. In each place the newly weds have to perform different actions, and do tasks to persuade others they are the perfect match and to see – who will be the boss in the family or to test if wife can knit or husband can chop wood. Mostly it’s with humor and a bit of sentiment. Many couples choose to visit different museums or nature parks as those places usually also have their own program for the new couple as for example in the Open air museum you can make your own coins and sew a lucky button made of tin.
    At some point the couple and their “marriage godparents” leave to have time just for four – the usually an outdoor photo shoot takes place, a romantic picnic for newlyweds and a tradition of planting a tree or digging in a wine bottle – which is being found and drank after one year of marriage.
    After that – reception. When couple arrives at the spot, there are usually “gates” made buy the guests – where couple again has to do tasks – put together a puzzle, sing or smthg. Inside the reception place their parents meet them with bread and salt, which stands for prosperity. Also groom takes bride on his arms and steps on a plate (wrapped in towel) – in how many pieces plate breaks – that’s how many kids they’ll have. Then of course – drinking, eating, toasts, dancing, games for guests, musicians and an evening host or the “marriage godparents” take care of organizing and or hosting all games and attractions. At midnight the couple is seated in the middle of room surrounded by guests and wife takes off her veil and gets a “married woman’s hat” which in Latvian is called “aube” and husband gets straw hat and a pipe. The fun part is over – the real life begins, NOW they are officially husband and wife as it’s a new day.
    Again fun and dancing and then everybody escorts couple to their bedroom and hides an ax under the bed (it means that the firstborn will be son) – yeah, I know, quite terrifying tradition. πŸ™‚
    That’s ot all. πŸ™‚ In the morning everybody goes to wake up the new wife and husband, make them wash their faces in cold water to stay young an beautiful and sing different traditional songs. During breakfast guests have to pay fees or perform tasks to get back their lost things. As in the beginning of the evening, guests get different nominations – Bard, bar Tender, Comedian, Dance guru, Thief, etc. Not only Thief has to try to steal the bride or her bouquet or shoe to ask for ransom form the groom, but he also takes forgotten things of other guests which has to be “bought back” in the morning. It’s usually a lot of fun and keeps the spirits high and in good mood. πŸ™‚
    Hope you got a small insight of how it goes. If you have any questions – feel free to ask! πŸ˜‰

    • Expat Eye says:

      A small insight? I feel like I just got married! Thank you for taking the time to provide so much information! It all sounds really lively and fun – apart from everyone barging into the bedroom on the morning after the wedding πŸ˜‰ I think I’d want some ‘alone’ time with my new hubby then! πŸ˜‰ Thank you again! I’ll be sure to send this all on to the groom to be! Linda.

  3. Wow! You get all sorts of emails! House hunters, match making! πŸ˜‰ I hope they are as entertaining to you as they are to us!

  4. Lila says:

    hi im a russian girl and i like your blog. here are some tips on russian wedding i attended:

    I know not much about the wedding traditions in Latvia, but in Russia it goes like this:
    a woman prepares for the wedding at home with her girlfriends. the groom comes together with his friends and asks to take the bride to the altar (or most likely a city hall). he has, however, to pay a bridal price to the wife`s girlfriends and family:)) it does not have to be too much money, just a symbolic sum. the point is not the money but the whole fun of the bride`s girlfriends introducing the bride and listing her characteristics, using old russian methafors and stuff, like: here we are presenting you with the best woman in the world, she can sow, sha can cook, but now lets see if you re good enough for her… so as funny as it may seem, sometimes instead of paying the bridal price the groom has to do funny things or answer different questions in order to prove that he loves his brode and knows her well, such as naming all her family members or guessing which print of the lipstick on the paper belongs to her=))) or name 10 different things he loves about her=))

    then the groom is let into the house, he takes his bride and together the depart followed by a bunch of cars with all their friends, all the cars are decorated with flowers and baloons. the whole party proceeds to the church or the city hall. after the ceremony the husband takes the wifes onto his arms and carries her out to the car.the family and friends jolly greet them and throw at them rosepetals (symbol of love and tenderness), they throw under their feet small coins and wheat grains (symbol of prosperity). then very often the couple walks aroound the city and takes pictures in front of important memorials and stuff. then they all come to a restaurant or the family home for the reception. russian wedding parties mean all guests sitting at one big table, eating a lot, getting drunk and pronouncing toasts for the happiness of the young couple, the beauty of the bride, the groom, every single member of the family… also every ten minutes or so somebody screams “Gorko” which basically means “its too bitter, give us some sugar” and the bridfe and groom are obliged to stand up and kiss. =))

    recently on russian weddings there appeares a hired tamada, who is a cross between a party host and a stand up comedian. he has to entertain the crowd, engage them in all kinds of silly games that would be appropriate on a teenage birthday party… lots of ridicoulous photos are being taken, people get drunk…

    thats how 100 % of russian weddings are. also i know that latvians have to visit at leats 7 different bridges on their wedding day. on one of them they have to hang a door lock with their names written on it. this tradition thing is getting popular in russia too. And on the last bridge the groom carries his wife=)) plus, there is a very certain wedding menu that they have in latvia…. beef broth is definetely part of it.

    i hope ive been helpfull with the information.hopefully some genuine latvians will provide better information. on the other hand your friends bride must know better what kind of wedding she wants and what traditions she will incorporate,. in any case, the guy better start working out since he ll have to carry the woman either way…=)))

    • Expat Eye says:

      That sounds fantastic! Have to try to get invited to a Russian wedding! GORKO! πŸ™‚ Thanks for your help – I”m sure the groom-to-be will appreciate your comment! Linda.

  5. rjschutte says:

    You are absolutely right. No romance in Latvia :-(. Or do I sound bitter now πŸ˜‰

  6. gina4star says:

    Surprise, surprise! Here’s our Linda with a quick reminder … of romantic-ness in Latvia! Well, who knew? πŸ™‚

  7. Pecora Nera says:

    I am gutted, one hundred percent gutted. I need a drink

  8. I’ll write a reply as soon as I’m done with the bucket…

  9. bevchen says:

    If you want to be Cilla Black, you need more sequins πŸ˜‰

  10. pollyheath says:

    I smell future potential in a “Missed Connections: Riga” segment of your blog. It definitely seems to be your calling.

  11. 1WriteWay says:

    Cheers! If it weren’t so early in the day here, I’d drink along with you (this is probably where I diverge from channeling your mother). Speaking of your mother, how the flat working out? If you have one yet?

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